Yield of practice-based depression screening in VA primary care settings.

VA Greater Los Angeles Center of Excellence for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Sepulveda, CA, USA.
Journal of General Internal Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.28). 10/2011; 27(3):331-8. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-011-1904-5
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many patients who should be treated for depression are missed without effective routine screening in primary care (PC) settings. Yearly depression screening by PC staff is mandated in the VA, yet little is known about the expected yield from such screening when administered on a practice-wide basis.
We characterized the yield of practice-based screening in diverse PC settings, as well as the care needs of those assessed as having depression.
Baseline enrollees in a group randomized trial of implementation of collaborative care for depression.
Randomly sampled patients with a scheduled PC appointment in ten VA primary care clinics spanning five states.
PHQ-2 screening followed by the full PHQ-9 for screen positives, with standardized sociodemographic and health status questions.
Practice-based screening of 10,929 patients yielded 20.1% positive screens, 60% of whom were assessed as having probable major depression based on the PHQ-9 (11.8% of all screens) (n = 1,313). In total, 761 patients with probable major depression completed the baseline assessment. Comorbid mental illnesses (e.g., anxiety, PTSD) were highly prevalent. Medical comorbidities were substantial, including chronic lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, cancer and stroke. Nearly one-third of the depressed PC patients reported recent suicidal ideation (based on the PHQ-9). Sexual dysfunction was also common (73.3%), being both longstanding (95.1% with onset >6 months) and frequently undiscussed and untreated (46.7% discussed with any health care provider in past 6 months).
Practice-wide survey-based depression screening yielded more than twice the positive-screen rate demonstrated through chart-based VA performance measures. The substantial level of comorbid physical and mental illness among PC patients precludes solo management by either PC or mental health (MH) specialists. PC practice- and provider-level guideline adherence is problematic without systems-level solutions supporting adequate MH assessment, PC treatment and, when needed, appropriate MH referral.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Primary care providers (PCPs) vary in skills to effectively treat depression. Key features of evidence-based collaborative care models (CCMs) include the availability of depression care managers (DCMs) and mental health specialists (MHSs) in primary care. Little is known, however, about the relationships between PCP characteristics, CCM features, and PCP depression care. To assess relationships between various CCM features, PCP characteristics, and PCP depression management. Cross-sectional analysis of a provider survey. 180 PCPs in eight VA sites nationwide. Independent variables included scales measuring comfort and difficulty with depression care; collaboration with a MHS; self-reported depression caseload; availability of a collocated MHS, and co-management with a DCM or MHS. Covariates included provider type and gender. For outcomes, we assessed PCP self-reported performance of key depression management behaviors in primary care in the past 6 months. Response rate was 52 % overall, with 47 % attending physicians, 34 % residents, and 19 % nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Half (52 %) reported greater than eight veterans with depression in their panels and a MHS collocated in primary care (50 %). Seven of the eight clinics had a DCM. In multivariable analysis, significant predictors for PCP depression management included comfort, difficulty, co-management with MHSs and numbers of veterans with depression in their panels. PCPs who felt greater ease and comfort in managing depression, co-managed with MHSs, and reported higher depression caseloads, were more likely to report performing depression management behaviors. Neither a collocated MHS, collaborating with a MHS, nor co-managing with a DCM independently predicted PCP depression management. Because the success of collaborative care for depression depends on the ability and willingness of PCPs to engage in managing depression themselves, along with other providers, more research is necessary to understand how to engage PCPs in depression management.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 02/2014; · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The high prevalence of comorbid physical and mental illnesses among veterans is well known. Therefore, ensuring effective communication between primary care (PC) and mental health (MH) clinicians in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system is essential. The VA's Patient Aligned Care Teams (PACT) initiative has further raised awareness of the need for communication between PC and MH. Improving such communication, however, has proven challenging. To qualitatively understand barriers to PC-MH communication in an academic community-based clinic by using continuous quality improvement (CQI) tools and then initiate a change strategy. An interdisciplinary quality improvement (QI) work group composed of 11 on-site PC and MH providers, administrators, and researchers identified communication barriers and facilitators using fishbone diagrams and process flow maps. The work group then verified and provided context for the diagram and flow maps through medical record review (32 patients who received both PC and MH care), interviews (6 stakeholders), and reports from four previously completed focus groups. Based on these findings and a previous systematic review of interventions to improve interspecialty communication, the team initiated plans for improvement. Key communication barriers included lack of effective standardized communication processes, practice style differences, and inadequate PC training in MH. Clinicians often accessed advice or formal consultation based on pre-existing across-discipline personal relationships. The work group identified collocated collaborative care, joint care planning, and joint case conferences as feasible, evidence-based interventions for improving communication. CQI tools enabled providers to systematically assess local communication barriers and facilitators and engaged stakeholders in developing possible solutions. A locally tailored CQI process focusing on communication helped initiate change strategies and ongoing improvement efforts.
    Journal of General Internal Medicine 04/2014; · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Clinical practice guidelines frequently recommend systematic screening for depression in cancer patients to improve recognition and prompt appropriate management. We aimed to screen major depressive disorder (MDD) in cancer inpatients using a structured tool and explore its applicability. Cancer inpatients were routinely screened by nurses using the Taiwanese Depression Questionnaire (TDQ), and for those screened positive, this was followed by a non-mandated referral to a psychiatrist for clinical evaluation and diagnosis. Patients who completed this two-stage procedure comprised the analysis sample. Routine screening of 8800 patients in a period of 27 months yielded 1087 (26.9%) positive first-time screens. Of them, 298 (27.4%) completed the psychiatric consultation. Depressive disorders were diagnosed in 185 patients (62.1%), mainly adjustment disorder (23.8%) and MDD (21.5%). The estimated prevalence of MDD was 21.5%. Area under the curve was 0.72, a result produced by the receiver operating characteristic curve of the TDQ scores relative to the clinical psychiatric diagnoses of MDD. A TDQ cutoff score of ≧26 provided an optimal diagnostic accuracy for MDD. This two-stage depression screening and diagnosing strategy is practical for improving recognition of MDD and other depressive disorders in cancer patients and could be routinely applied, rather than selectively, in a comprehensive cancer care system. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    Psycho-Oncology 05/2014; · 3.51 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 28, 2014